Ama Ata Aidoo: (1940-) Ghanaian dramatist, poet, novelist, and short-story writer. Aidoo’s career as a writer began while still an undergraduate at the University of Ghana with the 1964 performance of The Dilemma of a Ghost (pub 1965). Her work, consistently engaged with women’s issues, uses Africa’s oral traditions and styles to place these concerns in the larger context of the African struggle against colonialism, neocolonialism, and exploitation. Aidoo’s second play, Anowa (1970), is set in the late 19th, and is an adaptation of an old Ghanaian legend. In her collection of short stories, No Sweetness Here (1970), Aidoo turns her critical yet compassionate attention to the postindependence era, demonstrating her ability to as a storyteller and witty social critic. Our Sister Killjoy (1979) is an innovative novel which examines, through an interplay of prose and poetry, the maturation of a young Ghanaian woman who travels to Germany and England. Her second novel, Changes: A Love Story (1991), which won the 1992 Africa Section of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, recounts the trials and tribulations of the Esi Sekyi, a young educated career woman. In Aidoo’s sensitive depiction of Sekyi’s second marriage to a polygamous man, she explores the uses of Africa’s past to women and men who are attempting to create more meaningful personal and public lives. Aidoo’s other works include her two volumes of poetry, Someone Talking to Sometime (1985) and An Angry Letter in January (1991), and The Eagle and the Chicken and Other Stories (1987) and The Eagle and the Chicken and Other Stories (1987) and Birds and Other Poems (1987), both written for children. Aidoo is one of the most important African writers today.
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.